• 21 Nov 2015 by Donegal Wilson

    I was recently at an event where someone asked me "what is new at the BCMF?"  I asked what the M stood for?  He said the BC Meeting Federation it seems all you do is attend meetings.  At first I was a little insulted that he felt that was all we did.  Then I thought about what he had to say and guess what he is right!  A huge part of my time is spent at various meetings on a variety of topics.  So I started to look at where we meet and why?

    Destination BC: We meet with Destination BC to help our clubs promote tourism in their communities.  We have many businesses in the Province that depend on Snowmobiling to keep their business afloat in the winter months.  These are hotels, restaurants, pubs, gas stations, B&B's, lodges, dealerships, repair shops, truck dealers, and insurance retailers.  What would the town of Revelstoke look like in Winter if the snowmobiles went away?

    Recreation Sites & Trails BC: We meet with RSTBC to ensure that we are able to continue to have our trail systems recognized and hopefully someday a level of protection for future generations.  Our clubs work in partnership with RSTBC to designate our snowmobile trails as recognized  BC Recreation Sites.  This allows our clubs to maintain our trails in the summer, fix waterbars, replace bridges, place emergency shelters, parking lots, kiosks, and signage.  It also allows us to groom trails on Crown Land for the benefit of all backcountry recreationist.  The fee they authorized the club to collect on that trail provides the necessary funding to keep the trail maintained.

    WorkSafe BC: We meet with Worksafe BC to ensure that our clubs can meet any new requirements that come our of their regulations.  We have spent significant time in the last year reviewing the new Avalanche Safety Plans and assisting our clubs to understand the regulation and meet it where necessary.  We also help our clubs understand lone worker regulations and educate WorkSafe on our unique industry.

    Avalanche Canada: We sit on SledCom for AvCan to review their sled based programming and offer support and feedback in reaching our user group.  SledCom is tasked with assisting AvCan with outreach and support.  This winter we will be pushing to get people to submit reports to the Mountain Information Network (MIN).

    Caribou Progress Board: We sit on the Progress Board and are tasked with reviewing the current work being done by Government on the Mountain Caribou Recovery Plan (MCRIP).  We meet quarterly to get updates on pilot projects around the Province provide input and feedback.  We also provide an annual report to Minister Thompson on the actions Government has taken and our recommendations on the effectiveness of those actions.

    Outdoor Recreation Council: We sit on the ORC to be part of the Provincial Trail Strategy and to work with other user groups to improve our trail system throughout BC.

    Provincial Trails Advisory Board: The PTAB is a newly formed group that are tasked with the execution of the Provincial Trail Strategy.  They will guide the development of the Provincial Plan for all user trails going forward.

    Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO):  This is our National Voice.  We meet three times a year to move foward Canadian snowmobile initiatives.  Our work with this group has secured the National Trails Coalition funding that is just wrapping up and resulted in 1.2 million in Federal funding for BC trails.  $400,000 went into snowmobile trails and included trail clearing, culvert installations, new bridges and new signage across BC.  

    Board of Directors: Our Board meets monthly to review the steps taken by the BCSF and guide the organization forward.

    Meetings of the Clubs: We meet twice a year with as many snowmobile clubs as we can in the Province.  These meetings are a check in for the BCSF with our member clubs and an opportunity to share best practices across clubs.  These meetings have provided and will continue to provide the jump off point for many great initiatives.

    ORV JAG: This group reviewed and made recommendations on the new Off Road Vehicle Act and regulations that just came into effect.  We fought hard for many things at this group including stickers and youth being able to continue to ride on crown land.

    I know I missed a bunch but apparently yes we are the BCMF.  One of the BCSF key roles is to do this on behalf of all the snowmobilers, volunteers and communities that cannot participate in these meetings.  The backbone of snowmobiling in BC continues to be snowmobile clubs and their volunteers.  These people have jobs and a life and cannot spend all day or night sitting in meetings.

    Our participation ensure our voice is heard and that we are not forgotten because snowmobile in BC represents 867 million dollars annually to the BC economy.  

    So next time I hear #BCMF I will be proud that I do this on behalf of snowmobilers!